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Athletes

Ana Marcela
Cunha
BrazilBrazil, BRA
Open water

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
23 March 1992
Family
Partner Diana Abla
Residence
Rio de Janeiro, BRA
Occupation
Athlete, Serves in the Navy
Languages
English, Portuguese
Higher education
Physical Education - University of Santa Cecilia [Unisanta]: Brazil

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age two, and got involved in open water swimming at age eight.
Why this sport?
"I always liked swimming outdoors - in rivers, at the beach. I always loved it."
Club / Team
Universidade Santa Cecilia [Unisanta]: Santos, BRA
Name of coach
Fernando Possenti [personal], from 2017
Training Regime
She trains at the Maria Lenk National Training Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "I train every day of the week [except Sunday]. I start at 06:00, have lunch, rest and then return for the afternoon session. I swim about 300 kilometres per month, depending on the season. I also do physical preparation out of the water and preventive physiotherapy."

General Interest

Hero / Idol
Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna. (bandnewsfm.com.br, 21 May 2019)
Injuries
She underwent surgery to remove her spleen in October 2016 due to an autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with earlier that year. She took two months off from training and returned to full training in January 2017. (uol.com.br, 21 Oct 2016; swimswam.com, 17 Jul 2017)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
Before major international competitions she likes to get a new hairstyle. (tokyo2020.org, 21 May 2020; uol.com.br, 26 Mar 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"When you have clear goals, it is easier to train and swim behind them. Therefore I believe in taking it step by step." (sesisp.org.br, 09 Sep 2014)
Awards and honours
In 2019 she received the Braz Cubas Honour Medal of Merit in Santos, Brazil. (anamarcela.com.br, 16 Oct 2019)

In 2019 she was named Open Water Swimmer of the Year by the Brazilian Olympic Committee [COB] for the eighth time. (olharolimpico.blogosfera.uol.com.br, 02 Nov 2019)

In 2019 she was named Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine. (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 02 Nov 2019)

In 2019 she was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame [IMSHOF]. (sportv.globo.com, 27 Mar 2019)

In 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 she was named Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year by the International Swimming Federation [FINA]. (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 16 Oct 2018; fina.org, 02 Dec 2017; tokyo2020.org, 21 May 2020)

She was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Brazilian Olympic Committee [COB] in 2015 and 2018. (anamarcela.com.br, 18 Dec 2015; ativo.com, 19 Dec 2018)
Milestones
At age 16 years and 150 days she became the youngest open water swimmer to have taken part in the Olympic Games when she competed at the 2008 Games in Beijing. (tokyo2020.org, 21 May 2020; SportsDeskOnline, 04 Jun 2020)
Famous relatives
Her partner Diana Abla has represented Brazil in water polo international competitions. (globoesporte.globo.com, 15 Aug 2019)
Ambitions
To win a medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (Go Outside YouTube channel, 17 Jun 2019)
Other information
MEDAL SEARCH
She made her Olympic debut in 2008 in Beijing but is still looking for her first medal at the Games. "I really haven't had a perfect 10km race at the Olympic Games. In 2008 I was 16 and I arrived at the Olympic Village where I saw [US basketball player] Kobe Bryant, [US swimmer] Michael Phelps, and [Brazilian swimmer] Cesar Cielo. My head was in another world. Sadly, I did not qualify in 2012. And in 2016 I had a problem during the race, but I hate giving excuses, and that was not a good day to win a medal." (olimpiadatododia.com.br, 30 Jun 2020)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She has established the Ana Marcela Institute in Brazil to promote open water swimming. "We want to spread the sport to various parts of Brazil. Our country is huge and has an infinite number of beaches and rivers. There is no shortage of places to practise water marathon." (tokyo2020.org, 21 May 2020; bandnewsfm.com.br, 21 May 2019)